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Scientists publish analysis of algae parasite impact on algae biofuel in PLOS ONE

SAN DIEGO, February 20, 2013 As part of an ongoing effort to improve commercial scale algae biofuel production, a group of scientists, led by crude oil producer Sapphire Energy, Inc., today announced the completion of a collaborative study which identified the morphology, ultrastructure, and life history of A. protococcarum, one of the most difficult to manage algae parasites. Their findings are detailed in "Characterization of Amoeboaphelidium protococcarum: An Algal Parasite New to the Cryptomycota Isolated from an Outdoor Algal Pond Used for the Production of Biofuel," published today in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE. The article provides a comprehensive study of the parasite challenge facing crop protection for scaled algae cultivation in open-pond systems. These results will provide a broader understanding and promote the development of sustainable management strategies for biofuel production.

This article was prepared in collaboration by Robert C. McBride, Ph.D., Salvador Lopez, MSc, Craig Behnke, Ph.D., and Philip A. Lee, Ph.D., of Sapphire Energy; Peter M. Letcher, Ph.D., and Martha J. Powell, Ph.D., of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama; and Robert Schmieder, Ph.D., of the Department of Computer Science and Computational Science Research Center at San Diego State University.

"Identifying and overcoming crop protection challenges, from pest control to environmental factors, is critical to ensuring successful, scalable algae farming, and has long been a part of the research and development objective of Sapphire Energy," said Alex Aravanis, MD, Ph.D., chief science officer at Sapphire Energy. "This collaborative study demonstrates the power of synergy when academic and industrial scientists work together for a common goal, and lays the groundwork for the better understanding and creation of innovative strategies that will facilitate algae biofuel production at commercial scale."


Contact: Beth Llewelyn
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